Brisbane, January 14: After denting the ego of mighty Australians with their bruised and battered bodies in a Sydney epic, Ajinkya Rahane's wounded India will take no prisoners in a 'winners take all' fourth Test, starting Friday (January 14) on what could be the liveliest track in the series.
Australia need a win to regain Border-Gavaskar Trophy but a draw will be enough for India to retain it for another couple of years. There are times when the human body responds differently to the adrenaline rush and the likes of R Ashwin, Rishabh Pant and Hanuma Vihari have given their million fans a reason to believe in their gumption.
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1. Team News - India
The new India that Virat Kohli so raved about, is now ready to battle a whole new set of adversities at a venue where Australia hasn't lost a Test since 1988. There won't be Ravindra Jadeja and possibly Jasprit Bumrah too and on one of the most difficult tracks and insult to injury is Mayank Agarwal being hit on the forearm in the nets and Ashwin battling back spasms. But Ajinkya Rahane will still smile, Cheteshwar Pujara will be uncomplaining and trust Rohit Sharma to still go for the pull shot if Pat Cummins digs one short.
There will be no Vihari in Sydney but he has set a different bench-mark for the 'walking wounded' and expect Rishabh Pant to play another blinder in the only way he can. The combination has all gone for a toss and Rahane would only understand that discretion is the better part of valour. India might just want to use the option of playing only four bowlers instead of a regular five in order to take the game deep with their batting. If Agarwal is available, expect him to go in at number three after Rohit and Shubman Gill with Pujara and Rahane coming a notch down.
There is an option of playing Prithvi Shaw or Wriddhiman Saha in place of Ravindra Jadeja but off-spin all-rounder Washington Sundar's name is also doing the rounds. It's the bowling attack that India will be worried about. Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj with just three Tests in their kitty and Shardul Thakur, who bowled all of 10 balls in his debut Test two years back, do not exactly inspire confidence.
2. Team News - Australia
For Tim Paine, the series-decider couldn't have been played at the better venue than the bouncy Gabba. From a distance it looks like it always does," you could gauge the confidence in Paine's voice even as he gave the news of young Will Pucovski's shoulder injury ruling him out of playing eleven. "We love playing here, and one of the main reasons is because that wicket. This is a good place to come and play, because I don't have to go and look at it, I know what is going to be like," he said and it was like warning to Indian team that looks more like a second-string A team save three senior batsmen.
3. Playing 11
India (Possible): Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal/Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha/Washington Sundar, R Ashwin/Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Mohammad Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah/Shardul Thakur.
Australia: Tim Paine (Captain/Wk), David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Cameron Green, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood.
4. Dream 11
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon.